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Anonymous says its members should be free to DDOS websites as they please.  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Anonymous calls Paypal "corrupt" for refusing to support Wikileaks and cooperating with the FBI in arresting members associated with the attacks.  (Source: Furious Fanboys)

Anonymous takes credit for an eBay stock drop, failing to recognize that the drop was due to a poor earnings report.   (Source: Crescent State Bank)
Group claims drop was due to its boycott of "corrupt" Paypal, says DDOS attacks are not illegal

The hacker group Anonymous has yet again struck out at eBay Inc. (EBAY) subsidiary Paypal.  

I. "It's My Party, and I Can DDOS if I Want to"

The large group of international hackers [1][2][3]  and internet enthusiasts has been at odds with the e-payment service ever since last year, when it severed funding to Wikileaks citing violations of the terms of service, which forbid funding to be used in support of criminal activity.  

Anonymous responded with distributed denial of service attacks.  Its thousands of members directed their Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) programs to spam Paypal's servers with requests, which succeeded in temporarily slowing or crashing Paypal's services.

Following those attacks, fourteen alleged Anonymous members were arrested by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Among those includes Mercedes Haefer, a 20 year old female Las Vegas, Nevada college student who ensorcelled internet observers.

Now Anonymous and its daughter organization LulzSec [1][2][3][4][5][6][7] [8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15] are calling jointly for a boycott of all Paypal services in response to the arrests.  The organization writes:
Many of the already-apprehended Anons are being charged with taking part in DDoS attacks against corrupt and greedy organizations, such as PayPal.

What the FBI needs to learn is that there is a vast difference between adding one's voice to a chorus and digital sit-in with Low Orbit Ion Cannon, and controlling a large botnet of infected computers. And yet both of these are punishable with exactly the same fine and sentence.
Quite simply, we, the people, are disgusted with these injustices. We will not sit down and let ourselves be trampled upon by any corporation or government. We are not scared of you, and that is something for you to be scared of. We are not the terrorists here: you are.
In short, Anonymous is arguing that distributed denial of service (DDOS) using the LOIC is a protest, not a cyber attack, and people should be free to DDOS with LOIC as they please (even if it disrupts businesses).  Of course they'd likely feel a bit different about the superior DDOS application XerXes, which was employed by a hactivist calling himself th3j35t3r ("The Jester") to take down Anonymous's beloved Wikileaks last year.

Anonymous warns Paypal via Twitter, "Our most dangerous weapons is (sic) neither ddos nor hacks.  It's angry citizens who feel naturally allied with us.  Expect us. #AntiSec #OpPayPal"

II. Stock Drop -- Not the Work of Anonymous

Yesterday eBay stock took 3 percent nose dive and Anonymous tried to take credit for it, cheering, "Final Standing: 33.36 -1.06 (-3.08%) That's about lost in share value | Thanks, Mateys! | Who won?"

The group suggested that they could drop the stock to as low as $20 per share -- a fall of almost a third.  

However, such claims seem opportunistic and unrealistic, given that eBay just reported disappointing earnings.  While the earnings showed strong growth, earnings per share fell a cent short of the average analyst prediction, leading to the stock decline.

As of yesterday Anonymous was crowing about "tens of thousands" of Paypal accounts being deactivated.  If this is accurate, Paypal should hardly be concerned -- it has over 100 million accounts.  Of course, thanks to the convenient timing of the stock right after an earnings report, Anonymous can claim credit for the drop.

Surprisingly some news sites, such as NeoWin even believed the rhetoric.  The site, apparently oblivious of the earnings disappointment, wrote:
The boycott can be linked with a stock crash of their parent company Ebay which has already dropped ~3%. It’s expected that it will fall even more as more and more people follow the actions of others and deactivate their accounts.
If there's one thing Anonymous may have legitimately done, it's overloading Paypal's account deactivation page.  As of yesterday the page was down, though deactivations were proceeding via the service's phone line -- +1-888-221-1161.  

This is understandable, though, as the service likely only experiences a small number of deactivations on any given day.

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RE: Don't be daft
By tng on 7/28/2011 12:20:17 PM , Rating: 2
Ummm, yes.

Just one penny for each share of stock out there is major money in the financial world.

No one in finances cares about hackers if all they can do is a DDOS attack that lasts for less than a day, that affects the stock price less than a 1 cent per share miss on earnings.

RE: Don't be daft
By ipay on 7/28/11, Rating: -1
RE: Don't be daft
By tng on 7/28/2011 1:22:13 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe you didn't notice......
but we were not talking about Sony....

You had expressed doubts if just a 1 penny drop in earnings could cause a 3% stock drop remember.

Yes we are well informed about subject that we care about. However, hackers picking on Sony is kinda old news and most of us quit paying attention when it began to look like Sony either didn't care or was just to stupid to stop it.

You will notice that despite all of the hacker picking on Sony that I can still go out and buy a DVD or BRD from Sony BMG, pick up a Sony Flatscreen LCD at my local electronics store, and still find Memory Stick products out there. Really (my opinion only) the hacks will be a bump in the road for Sony, it will lead to a better stronger Sony in the end.

RE: Don't be daft
By Fritzr on 7/28/2011 9:22:41 PM , Rating: 2
Now I understand why Sony suddenly got mentioned. Sony is not relevant to this story. The much hyped Sony attack was on the servers of a minor part of the company with most of the anger being directed at the folks who prevented gamers from being able to play. That is not at Sony.

The PayPal attack was against a web-only company and was minor enough that most users never noticed. The story concerns claims made by the hackers that the financial market's reaction to an earnings report had nothing to do with whether or not a publically traded stock corporation met it's projected earnings targets.

In reality
If actual earnings are less than projected, stock price falls
If actual earnings are roughly the same as projected, stock price is unaffected as the market already adjusted to that earnings level
If actual earning are more than projected, stock price rises.

However due to thousands of unrelated factors that various investors pay attention to, stock prices fluctuate in a manner that appears at first glance to be random.

If PayPal had been taken offline for a few weeks, that would have damaged their business, but minor delays and the occasional site not available are taken by the ordinary person to be normal internet bumps and unless they are being separately told that the company is being badly battered by a hacker attack they will almost always never learn the cause of the problem they had that day.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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